The history of Kobold vacuum cleaners


The history of Kobold vacuum cleaners

Over 90+ years of innovation, precision and quality  

From the humble beginnings of a family-run carpet factory, Vorwerk paved their way through to engineer high-quality household items that have become essentials in everyday homes around the world. When Vorwerk invented the original Kobold upright vacuum cleaner in 1929, it succeeded in building powerful suction into a very small space. Driven by innovations, today’s Kobold product line encompasses not only the upright and canister-type vacuum cleaners, but also a robot vacuum, cordless vacuums and a window cleaner.


Vorwerk began as a family-run carpet factory, founded by Brothers Carl and Adolf Vorwerk in Wuppertal, Germany in 1847. Initially manufacturing high-quality carpets and upholstery fabrics, until diversifying following the First World War and taking up the production of electric motors for gramophones.


But as radio grew in popularity, gramophone sales declined, and the company had to shift, inspiring the very first Kobold Vacuum in 1929, Developed out of a gramophone motor, a high-performance electric upright vacuum cleaner.

At the time, this was a revolutionary feat; it was reduced to just a motor, dust-bag, and handle, making it significantly less bulky than any other vacuum in the market. Even this first model was notable for its power and versatility.


Vorwerk named the brand Kobold, meaning elf. AKA: the superpowered family helper, and a patent was granted for the first Kobold “Model 30”.

By 1935, 100,000 Kobolds had been sold, by 1937, half a million, and by 1953, one million.


Love for Kobold’s ingenious convenience had spread across Europe and the globe. But the Italians have a different word for the best vacuum cleaner brand. Over there, Kobold is known as Folletto, and you’ll find one in more than a third of Italian households. That’s 7.5 million families who can’t be wrong!


The very first Electric Bursh Head (ET1) was launched.


While up to the end of the 1960s the company focused mainly on the production and sale of vacuum cleaners, carpets and upholstery fabrics, ever since that time it has continually diversified, initially into the services sector. This included the launch of the Thermomix food processor in 1971, followed by Vorwerk Fitted Kitchens in 1974.


Kobold118 came out with a better dust filter.


The first Horizontal Vacuum Cleaner Tiger250 was launched.


The 50 millionth product came out of Vorwerk's production line - a Kobold Vacuum Cleaner. The former President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Johannes Rau, witnessed this historic moment.


Kobold130 became the first Vorwerk product certified by TÜV NORD, making the German-engineered allergy vacuum filter system and hygienic filter bags the best for allergies, reducing contact with the dust collected – meaning no more dust clouds!


The VK150 and very first hard floor attachment (2-in-1 Vacuum Mop) was launched, the SP530.


VR200 Robot Vacuum was born, the first for the Vorwerk Vacuum family, making it the first model that can be fully operated via smartphone.


Compact, highly maneuverable and extremely powerful, the Kobold VK200 Upright Vacuum Cleaner launched, making it the very first machine that can be converted into a complete and uniquely versatile cleaning system.


Kobold VB100 + SPB100 Cordless 2-in-1 Stick Vacuum & Mop launched in Australia.


Kobold VK7 launched in Australia and New Zealand.

The evolution of Kobold vacuum cleaners doesn't stop there

Built to capture even the smallest particles and allergens, the Kobold Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner is a powerful cleaning system to improve the wellbeing of the whole family. With the Kobold VK7 Vacuum, and its range of attachments, you can breathe easy knowing that you can remove stubborn dirt and pet hair with ease. But don't think we're stopping there...

Innovating for more quality time

For Vorwerk, innovation means making everyday life easier. It means making more time for the things that matter and making continuous improvements to bring tomorrow's technology to your home today. That is the mission that has driven Kobold and Folletto to become such a game-changing vacuum cleaner brand, and Thermomix® to be such an impressive, multifunctional kitchen appliance used across the globe.

Here's to 140 years of passion!

There is something to celebrate – because this year Vorwerk is celebrating their 140th anniversary! 🥂 Together we raise a glass to say thank you to our customers for their passion and support along the way.

Quality that is thoughtfully engineered

For almost a century, Vorwerk has brought together exceptional thinkers in engineering and makers in manufacturing under one roof to analyse every function and design detail to produce quality household appliances. Today, we’ve got more than 120 bright minds developing next-level innovations of the highest quality.

From conception to development and construction, a lot of precision, detail and care has been put into each individual part by Vorwerk, so it is no wonder they last so long! Kobold and Thermomix® both have their homes in the Bergisches region of Germany so we can be rest assured with the quality that is "Made in Germany".

From our family to yours

For our founders, Grace and Bianca, Thermomix® changed their lives in so many ways, and so many people around Australia and New Zealand, and they wanted to do the same in the way that people clean their homes as well.

“Vorwerk are always at the forefront of design and engineering and the products they develop make a huge difference in people’s lifestyles. We knew that the fact they started with the vacuum long before Thermomix®, that it would be an incredible vacuum and take cleaning to the next level, especially with the 2-in-1 Vacuum Mop. Who doesn’t want to effortlessly get a thorough clean in half the time! We were blown away when we saw the cleaning system and just how efficiently it would clean the home.” - Bianca Mazur, Executive Director, The Mix Australia and New Zealand.

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